The Jewish Education ProjectBy Shellie Dickstein,
Managing Director of Early Childhood and Family Engagement for The Jewish Education Project
The Jewish Education Project believes that children, teens and families should experience Jewish education as meaningful and relevant to their lives. Our mission is to spark and spread innovations that expand the reach and increase the impact of Jewish education so that children, teens and families have the tools they need to thrive individually and collectively as Jews and global citizens.
Our Early Childhood and Family Engagement team works with 125 Early Childhood programs and engages more than 600 educators through In-site-ful Journey visits to demonstration sites of innovation: sharing resources for innovative approaches; conducting and sharing market research about parents to inform the field; sparking and spreading innovation through educators networks – both roundtables and communities of practice; and offering Professional development through seminars, webinars, conferences and intensive cohort learning. Our work this year includes spreading Reggio inspired, constructivist practices; re-imaging Israel education in the early years; adopting nature inspired practices and outdoor risky play; and cultivating teacher leaders.
A few of our present signature initiatives include:
- Music Together®: Sing Shalom a collaboration with Music Together LLC with funding by UJA-Federation of New York, to provide a Jewish Music Together enrichment series for parents and children 0-4 presently taking place in our NY catchment area and spreading to a few pilot sites nationally.
- Project LEAD, an intensive cohort network of Early Childhood Directors and their lead educators from 12 centers immersed in leading change by adapting Reggio inspired/constructivist and seamless Judaism practices; and a Reggio 101 network of educators from an additional 17 early childhood centers beginning this journey.
- Israel in the Early Years:
- Israel in the Early Years Fellows Network of 8 educators meet during monthly meetings and seminars to grapple with the question “Given the changes in early childhood practices and Israel education- How might we re-imagine Israel education for early childhood?” Using a design thinking process, readings, and case studies, and with seminars and webinars facilitated by Dr. Sivan Zakai and Dr. Lauren Appelbaum of Project ORLI, this NY cohort is part of a tri-city Israel in the Early Years Network that includes Chicago and Baltimore.
- “More than Yom Ha’Aztmaut” early childhood conferences designed to spark a broader conversation among educators on how we might re-imagine Israel education through a relational constructivist approach. Educators examined their own connection to Israel; experienced an interactive session with Robbie Gringras of Makom; and attended two workshops of many, showcasing immersive environments and creative ways to integrate Israel into the everyday life of the classroom and children’s investigations.
"More than Yom Ha'Aztmaut" conference